Arachibutyrophobia and Ways to Treat It

There are a lot of phobias out there when it comes to food, and many of them are based on the consistencies that specific types of food have. Food can be scary for some people, whether spaghetti for someone or anything with high fiber content.

When it comes to peanut butter has got a remarkable consistency; it’s’ an excellent source of protein, and it can be healthy. But many people have a peanut butter phobia (also known as arachibutyrophobia). This phobia may be more common than you think! Let’s understand it in detail.

What Is Arachibutyrophobia (Or Fear of Peanut Butter)?

Pronunciation of arachibutyrophobia

Fear of peanut butter (also known as arachibutyrophobia) refers to the phobia of the stickiness of the nut butter to the mouth or being choked by it. The word ‘arachibutyrophobia’ is formed from Greek roots (‘arachis,’ meaning ‘peanut’, and butyraceous, meaning ‘containing butter’).

The fear usually begins early in childhood or may start later in life. The fear can be so severe that the sufferer cannot eat peanuts or anything else with even a trace of peanut products. Sufferers typically avoid all things associated with peanuts, such as reading or watching television shows or movies that have to do with them.

What Are the Symptoms of Arachibutyrophobia?

The symptoms associated with arachibutyrophobia include:

  • Panic,
  • Rapid breathing,
  • Nausea,
  • Sweating and feeling faint.

Other symptoms include muscle tension, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, headaches, and irritability.

It is crucial to inform the doctor about all the symptoms of arachibutyrophobia or phobia of peanut butter as soon as possible. This will help the doctor diagnose the problem correctly and suggest an effective treatment.

What Are the Factors That Trigger Arachibutyrophobia?

Arachibutyrophobia can be triggered by:

  • Peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth.
  • Fear of choking on peanut butter if it gets stuck to the top of one’s mouth.
  • Fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the top of one’s mouth and then being unable to remove it.
  • Fear that if one were to get peanut butter stuck to the roof of their mouth, they would have no way of removing it.
  • Fear that if one got peanut butter stuck to the top of their mouth, they would be teased for it.
  • Opening a jar of peanut butter.
  • Watching someone else open a jar of peanut butter.
  • Reading about someone opening a jar of peanut butter.
  • Hearing about someone opening a jar of peanut butter.

What Are the Causes of Arachibutyrophobia?

The causes of arachibutyrophobia are not entirely agreed upon among psychologists, as research into the causes of phobias is still relatively new. However, some psychologists believe that arachibutyrophobia is caused by an association of the feeling of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth with something unpleasant or anxiety-inducing, such as particularly severe allergic reactions.

Other psychologists believe that arachibutyrophobia develops from a combination of learned and inherited factors. The inherited factors could include genetic predispositions to being afraid of specific textures, tastes, or smells and an innate sensitivity to the feeling of stickiness in one’s mouth.

The onset of this phobia may occur after a negative experience involving peanut butter. For example, suppose someone had a bad childhood experience with peanut butter. In that case, they might associate it with being in the dentist’s office (due to the sticky texture and association with cavities). This could trigger negative emotions, leading to a fear of peanut butter.

While there is no official diagnostic test for arachibutyrophobia, those suffering from the debilitating condition should seek professional help from trained healthcare professionals.

Treatment for Arachibutyrophobia

Treatment for arachibutyrophobia involves psychotherapy and exposure therapy. In psychotherapy, a mental health professional can help you overcome arachibutyrophobia by teaching relaxation techniques and challenging irrational thinking patterns.

In exposure therapy, you would confront your most significant anxiety. You would be exposed in small increments so that you are no longer afraid of the object of your fear–in this case, peanut butter!

Exposure therapy can successfully treat arachibutyrophobia because it enables people to face their fears and learn that they are not dangerous. In addition, patients discover that being around the feared object does not inevitably lead to danger or other negative consequences.

Further, medications are also effective in treating peanut butter phobia. Medications commonly prescribed include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antidepressants, and benzodiazepines. These medications may take several weeks to become fully effective, so don’t give up if you don’t feel better immediately. Also, consult with a licensed professional before getting started with medications.

Final Thoughts

The fear of having peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth is a prevalent issue that most people experience at some point in their lives. Peanut butter tends to stick to the top of your mouth, which may cause you to feel a sense of suffocation or choking sensation when it gets stuck there.

This condition can cause significant stress and affect your ability to enjoy food due to the uncomfortable feelings associated with being unable to get peanut butter off your tongue.

Though this phobia is not dangerous, it can be distressing for people who suffer from it. If you’re having symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider or a mental health professional about your fear and get started with the treatment.


  • Sidell, D. R., Kim, I. A., Coker, T. R., Moreno, C., & Shapiro, N. L. (2013). Food choking hazards in children. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 77(12), 1940–1946.
  • NHS. (n.d.). Overview – Phobias. NHS choices. Retrieved October 26, 2018, from

Hi, I am Happy. I'm a professional writer and psychology enthusiast. I love to read and write about human behaviors, the mind, mental health-related topics, and more.